Order out of Chaos
Chaos. Chaos is the word that keeps coming to mind right now. We really are living through an unprecedented time in recent history. But whenever I think of the word chaos, I immediately think of its opposite, order. I cannot think of those words without reflecting on the character of God and His action in creation. Genesis 1 presents a picture of God bringing order out of chaos. In a time like this, that feels closer to chaos than any time a lot of us have experienced, it is good to remember that we serve a God that puts into order everything that is in disorder. That He is sovereign over everything, and that He brings peace, love, and joy amidst the toughest times. Thank you for being someone who supports the advancement of the Kingdom even in these disorderly times, and helps to bring order where there is none.
If you're like me, you are pretty tired of hearing about Corona everywhere you go. Awareness is obviously important, but sometimes I just want some semblance of normalcy right now. So let me see if I can bring some to this blog. Down below I'll put FOCUS's response to COVID-19 if you are wondering about that. Primarily though I want to talk about answered prayers in our ministry right now.
How the ministry is doing
Honestly I'm pretty proud of how the ministry is doing right now up in Denton. As I mentioned last time, we have been in a time of confession and healing, and I think we are really seeing the healing portions right now. The students have been super responsive to the movement of the Spirit during this time and I've started to see so much initiative taken on their parts. They have been setting up accountability with one another and with staff, and they have been making active steps to live in the light even more.
The students Darby and I took camping over Spring Break
Who knew you could find this in Oklahoma?
We are seeing the students take more initiative in setting up events and outreach. Many of them are planning their own outreach times on their respective campuses, others are setting up scripture reading times, hangouts, prayer times, you name it. Our orthodoxy series is also going well, I just finished giving a sermon on Orthodoxy in the Authority of the Church which is certainly an interesting topic, but nonetheless I received great feedback on it from our students. I rarely get excited about public speaking, but I'm actually really looking forward to my next sermon which will be about heaven. I've started preparing for it already and think it will be super helpful for our students. Now we've just got to figure out how we are going to live stream all our coming sermons...
To sum up, I'd say that although this is certainly an interesting time to be doing ministry, our ministry is in a great place to take it on. I am so excited to see what the Lord does in this season, and am fully expectant that it might be stretching and trying, but in the best ways.
A Letter From Our Director On COVID-19
To the FOCUS Community:
I want to update you on how FOCUS is responding to COVID-19, especially in light of so many of our campuses extending spring break and moving to online instruction only afterward. As a community, we need to be praying diligently for our world during this concerning time. We don’t need to panic, because we know our hope is secure in Christ, but we do need to take action in order to love our neighbors well. Those actions may be personally inconvenient, uncomfortable, and/or expensive. The situation is evolving daily, and spring break has disrupted our normal schedules and access to one another, so we will hopefully have more definite plans in the coming 2 weeks, but here are the actions we are currently taking/considering:
- The 3 SSI trips from Washington State that were scheduled to arrive on March 22 are cancelled.
- Pizza Theology will not happen in its normal format on March 29, but we are considering our options for livestreaming a special teaching time, so stay tuned!
- After tonight, we are cancelling our weekly large group fellowships (TNF, TNT, FNF) on our various campuses. We will be following the various policies on each campus to determine how long that will be in effect. We are also considering livestreamed weekly services to replace these.
- One-on-ones and FOJ studies will continue as planned, moving to phone or video calls depending on the health and comfort levels of the students and pastors involved.
- For cores and other small groups, we are working with student life offices to determine what policies may affect those. We will not stop small groups of adults from gathering together, but we are also working on developing a video conferencing option. We will certainly encourage all sick or exposed students to stay away from others.
- Leader development meetings on Monday nights will move to small groups led by a pastor, whether in-person or virtual.
- We are waiting to make a final determination on SICM plans. We haven’t spent any money yet and it’s not urgent for a few more weeks. We will continue to monitor the situation for now.
Thanks for being gracious and flexible. We as a team of pastors are committed to providing pastoral care to the students in our community and beyond.
For the kingdom,
Wisdom in pursuing ministry amidst a public health crisis.
Innovative and safe ideas for evangelism in a time of social distancing.
Overall peace and healing for my wife Darby (she has a swollen lymph node on her neck we are getting checked out).